Latin

30 Years Ago, Gipsy Kings' 'Volaré' Rumbaed to the Top of the Hot Latin Songs Chart

The Gipsy Kings
Rob Verhorst/Redferns

The Gipsy Kings posed backstage at Ahoy in Rotterdam, Netherlands on March 23, 1990.

By 1990, the Gipsy Kings were already global stars, after bursting onto the scene with the ubiquitous 1988 summer hit “Bamboleo.”

Thirty years ago Tuesday (April 21), Gipsy Kings -- the band that had the world striking a flamenco pose and screaming out “bem bem” and “djobi, djoba” on dance floors -- rumbaed to the top of the Hot Latin Songs chart with “Volaré.”

The Kings’ first Hot Latin Songs No. 1 covered Domenico Modugno’s 1956 Billboard Hot 100 topper, recorded as “Nel Blu, Dipinto Di Blu,” which, in the 1970s, made a return appearance into American households via the version sung by suave Italian singer Sergio Franchi, who appeared in commercials for Plymouth’s Volaré car, thus christened to emphasize its continental style.

On “Volaré,” Gipsy Kings sang in Spanish and Italian, courting nostalgia for the classic hit while adding the rumba’s ventilador guitar rhythm, named after a whirring fan.

“Volaré” was included on the album The Best of the Gipsy Kings, which debuted and peaked at No. 2 on Top Latin Albums, remaining on the chart for 107 weeks.